We few people had a debate on a topic and we were putting our opinions/views but 1 person whose basics are even not clear without any figures trying to prove his words among us.

How can we approach such persons with correct fact and figures without sounding offensive ?

  • Just to understand the situation; is there a need for all 6 of you to unanimously agree to something? Like if this is discussing an approach to a work project or something similar.
    – user8671
    Dec 3, 2018 at 12:37
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because we can't offer you a way of proving that person wrong. We can offer you ways how to approach a discussion with that person to figure out what they expect and what you (the others expect) and finding compromises or ways to figure whos actually right and whos wrong yourself. But to generally proof someone being wrong isn't possible without manipulation. And that's something we don't cover on IPS. Maybe you can rephrase OP so it fits in that.
    – dhein
    Dec 3, 2018 at 12:45
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    I'm not sure to understand your question. If you want to prove to them that they are wrong, this is off-topic. However, if want to make them that they are behaving in a wrong way, you should edit your question to clarify.
    – Ael
    Dec 3, 2018 at 13:06
  • Edited, ok i understood that my words were wrong and looked like off-topic. I hope now it is exact and on topic. Dec 3, 2018 at 19:04
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    As it is know the question lacks sufficient context to properly answer, such as, what was the debate about, do you know the person well, was it five people agreeing and 1 disagreeing, seemingly irrationally? For instance, a debate about religious aspects is very different from a discussion about a solution to a technical problem.
    – GretchenV
    Dec 3, 2018 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


Both the simplest and hardest answer to your question: Try to prove them right first.

This is probably best explained by giving a concrete example. Let's assume you're debating about what color a trafic light should have. You guys are convinced it should be red/yellow/green right? Since those colors are legaly enforced. But then there's this one guy that just really wants it to be red/yellow/blue instead because it's easier to see.

It's impossible to convince him about green being the only correct answer "because the law says so".

Instead let's first actually try to understand his point of view. Why does he think blue is easier to differenciate than green? By first actally trying to understand why he thinks so we discover he's colorblind and has trouble with green/red.

Hey, this is actually a really valid reason to make it blue! If only the law allowed for it.

It makes a huge difference to respond to him with "you're wrong, it HAS to be green" and "I agree with you that blue would be a good way, but it's not legal so we can't do that".

The end result might be something like these japanese trafic lights which are the blue-est possible color that is still officially green.

By first trying to prove them right you force yourself to actually listen and understand their point of view. At least in this step it will prevent them from going defensive.

The next step is asking them (nicely!) to do the same for your point of view. Have them try to see the possitive parts of your side.

Only when you find out where your standpoints actually differ you can start finding a solution. Or - depending on the reason for the debate - you can agree on having different opinions and leave it at that.

A final thing to really think about: What makes you so sure the 5 of you were really right in the first place?
(Rhetorical question, please don't try to answer this in a comment.)

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